Ryan Seacrest wasn’t the only one holding court on the red carpet Oscar evening. In the background – likely way, way in the back – more than 400 visual effects technicians marched on Hollywood to demand better recognition for the work they do behind the scenes.
Specifically, technicians who contributed to Ang Lee’s Life of Pi gathered outside the Dolby theater in Hollywood, according to The Guardian UK. The paper says that the protest was organized after the popular Rhythm & Hues effects house filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly after winning a BAFTA award for the work they did on Lee’s mystical film.
Pi isn’t the only prestigious film on Rhythm & Hues’ resume. The effects house worked on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first Hunger Games movie, The Golden Compass and the brilliant talking-pig comedy Babe. Twitter followers who carried coverage of the protest said the “more than 450 people” who assembled carried signs asking for “a piece of the Pi.” Meanwhile, the Guardian says that “a chartered plane has been circling overhead towing a banner with the protest slogan: ‘Box Office + Bankrupt = Visual Effects vfxunion.com.’”
A chartered plane? OK, that’s a bad way to sell your point that, financially, your side of the industry is hurting while others are reaping the fortunes. And I’m not sure what the end game is of a protest that isn’t making much of a dent on the industry’s biggest night. There are better times to voice your concerns … unless you want to steal thunder away from Lee and the picture you worked so hard to complete.
Want to add fuel to the fire? Life of Pi picked up two visual effects Oscars early this evening. And as one of the technicians was trying to draw attention to the financial struggles of Hues, he was played off with loud music and his mic was turned off. Conspiracy theorists? Start your engines!
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.